Montreal Canadiens defenceman Karl Alzner opts out of NHL return

Karl-Alzner-Canadiens-hits-Tyson-Jost

Karl Alzner of the Montreal Canadiens lays a hit on Colorado's Tyson Jost. (David Zalubowski/AP)

Montreal Canadiens defenceman Karl Alzner is opting out of the NHL’s return-to-play plan, as announced by the team on Saturday night.

Alzner, 31, played four games for the Canadiens this season, posting a minus-one rating with zero points and four shots.

No specifics regarding Alzner’s decision were immediately available.

After not missing an NHL game for eight consecutive seasons, Alzner has played only 13 games in the past two years. The fifth overall pick in 2007 has seven years of playoff experience, all with the Washington Capitals.

Other players who have opted out include Edmonton’s Mike Green, Vancouver’s Sven Baertschi, Dallas’s Roman Polak and Calgary’s Travis Hamonic.

The NHL’s Phase 3 begins Monday, as teams open training camps in their home cities.

Montreal, the No. 12 seed in the East, is scheduled to face the No. 5 Pittsburgh Penguins on Aug. 1 in Toronto to begin a best-of-five play-in series.

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